Key Races & Bets for Saturday June 11, 2022

Brooklyn Stakes – Race 5 at Belmont Park – Post Time 1:47 PM Eastern

First Constitution is the play here, opening at 9 to 2 and offering exceptional value because the second and third betting favorites on the morning line (Fearless and Warrant) are highly vulnerable. First Constitution has a fine record of 2-2-2 in six races since just after importing to the U.S. and moving to the Pletcher barn. His best effort came in January in his first start WITHOUT lasix when he led from start to finish and won easily by seven lengths in the Jazil Stakes. After two months off he returned to finish third then last month in his second start off the layoff he once again led from start to finish, winning the Flat Out Stakes at Belmont at 11 furlongs. With the only other horse in the field who may has shown any desire to lead early being favorite Lone Rock, but with Lone Rock having rated off the pace in three of his last five wins, the strategy will likely be for Lezcano to put First Constitution on the lead (as he did in both the aforementioned wins) and control the pace. From there, he only has Lone Rock to beat but with their best efforts having yielded the same 114 Equibase figures, First Constitution has every right to win and at better odds.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets: First Constitution at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

Exactas: Box First Constitution and Lone Rock.

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Ogden Phipps Stakes – Race 7 at Belmont – Post Time 3:05 PM Eastern

ALL five of these sensational fillies and mares can win, but that’s exactly why I am only choosing Search Results because in any other field she would be the three to five favorite but here she opens at 9 to 2. She is Chad Brown’s only starter and Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides and she is making her third start of the year, off an eight month layoff, and as a four year old, more than enough reasons to feel strongly she will run even better than she did five weeks ago when easily winning the Ruffian Stakes over the track (also a one-turn route) by three lengths. She is a perfect 2-for-2 at Belmont, with her other win coming in the G1 Acorn Stakes on this day last year. That effort earned a then career-best 107 figure and in the Ruffian she earned a 104 she is likely to markedly improve upon.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets: Search Results at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

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Manhattan Stakes – Race 10 at Belmont Park – Post Time 5:38 PM Eastern

Santin and L’Imperator are the keys to profit in this race, although cases can be made for four others. Santin just won the Turf Classic on Derby day, gamely by a neck, the addition of blinkers making all the difference in the world after he hung in the stretch and finished second in the Muniz prior to that as the favorite. The colt now has a 3-2-0 record in six races, all on turf, and as a four year old has more to show us. He battled head-and-head in the Turf Classic and prevailed gamely over the runner-up, with six lengths back to the next horse. Gaffalione was up then and rides back and the 115 figure earned in that race is the best last race figure in the field and likely to be improved upon

That being said, L’Imperator is IMPOSSIBLE to ignore opening at 15/1 as one of Brown’s quartet in this race. One of the other three is Tribhuvan, who I have NO DOUBT is in the race to serve as a rabbit for the other three, or at least to keep the pace honest so that Channel Maker doesn’t get an easy early lead. Speaking of Channel Maker, this is NOT HIS BEST DISTANCE, evidenced by a 0-1-0 record in five starts at 10 furlongs on grass. He prefers a mile and one half and is suspect here. Similarly, 3 to 1 morning line favorite Gufo has odds which are lower than they should be. Although he won the Pan American Stakes at the distance in April, his effort in the Man o’War last month was sub-par (104 figure) and he only managed third in last year’s Manhattan off a similar runner-up effort in the Man o’War.

Back to L’Imperator, who won the Fort Marcy Stakes on this inner turf course last month with a career-best 107 figure, following three months off. That was his BEST effort since importing to the U.S. and although he led from start to finish, he ran impossibly slow early to do so but came home in under 13 seconds. In his previous two wins in the U.S., L’Imperator rallied from fifth and sixth and that’s where I expect him to be here early before rallying to run a lot better than his high odds suggest he will.

Handicapper Picks

Win Bets:

Santin to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.  

L’Imperator to win at odds of 5 to 1 or more.

As it is highly probable both win contenders will go to post at or above minimum odds, the best way to capitalize on betting two horses to win, especially when one of their odds may high as is the case here, with the goal of maximizing our profit, is to “Dutch” the bet, which means to prorate it based on the odds. has a free and easy to use Dutching Tool available where you can set the amount you want to bet, or the amount you want to win, and the math is done for you. This is just one of many tools, and perks, available to the bettor at 


L’Imperator and Santin over L’Imperator, Santin, Gufo, Tokyo Gold, Adhamo, Rockemperor, Highland Chief and Channel Maker


L’Imperator and Santin over L’Imperator and Santin over ALL

L’Imperator and Santin over ALL over L’Imperator and Santin

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Belmont Stakes – Race 11 at Belmont Park – Post Time 6:44 PM Eastern

Top contender:

The connections of We the People couldn’t have been more pleased when he drew the ground saving rail for this year’s Belmont Stakes because it should enable the talented colt to take the lead from the start and control the pace in a race in which no other horse appears to like to run on the lead in the early stages. We the People was bred to do one thing and that is to run in longer races. He debuted in February at a mile and dominated by nearly six lengths then one month later won as easily by a similar margin. Moving way up in class to run in the Arkansas Derby as the last chance to gain points for a start in the Kentucky Derby, We the People was very well regarded at 2 to 1 odds but started fifth and finished seventh. Whatever transpired in that race appears to have been an aberration, because in the Peter Pan Stakes four weeks ago over the Belmont main track, We the People returned to his previous form. This time he grabbed the lead from the start and continually improved, eventually winning by 10 lengths. The 101 Equibase figure not only was a career-best but is likely to be improved upon as the Belmont will be only his fifth career start. Since the race the colt put in a very strong :47.4 half-mile workout which was ninth best of 66 on the day and demonstrates he’s holding top physical condition. Jockey Flavien Prat was aboard for the Peter Pan and rides back which is another strong factor. As a grandson of Tapit, whose progeny have had superb success in this race, and by relatively new sire Constitution, who has had two of six sons or daughters already win at the slightly shorter distance of 11 furlongs, We the People is the one to catch, and to beat.

Also contenders:

Creative Minister improved nicely in his first three races, culminating with a superb108 figure effort winning an allowance race early on Kentucky Derby day. To put that in perspective, Rich Strike earned a 106 figure winning the Derby so on paper Creative Minister ran faster. Coming back on two weeks rest for the Preakness, Creative Minister managed only a mild rally and third place finish. Looking at the composition of the Belmont field, trying to determine who may be running second or third behind We the People appears to be the key to figuring out who may have a shot at upsetting the favorite. Given that Creative Minister has been in third to fifth in the early stages of his last three races it is relatively safe to assume he will be one of those horses stalking the leader. Being a son of Creative Cause there is no doubt he will relish the distance as the sire has produced six winners from 11 horses which have won at this distance and even longer. His maternal grandfather is Tapit, and as mentioned that bloodline is a key to having the stamina for this race. As such, Creative Minister has a big shot to finish second or third and is not without a chance to win.

Nest has a chance to be the fourth filly to win the Belmont, with Rags to Riches the most recent to have done so in 2007. The filly has done little wrong in her career winning four of six and finishing second or third in the other two. Her best effort came one race before her last when winning the Ashland Stakes with authority by eight lengths. The 106 figure earned is as good as the Derby figure for Rich Strike and the field high figure of 108 earned by Creative Minister. Most importantly, Nest absolutely has the tactical speed to be second or third in the early stages of the Belmont Stakes as demonstrated in her two races this year before her runner-up effort in the Kentucky Oaks when she found herself seventh after a quarter mile and still sixth after a half-mile. With a strong will to succeed, Nest can’t be ruled out as a factor in this year’s Belmont Stakes.

Not contenders (to win):
Since by this point many will be asking “What about Rich Strike?” my answer is this colt’s running style does not portend well for either the winner’s historical profile or for this year’s pace scenario. Rich Strike benefitted from a faster than average pace in the Derby, to put it mildly, as the first six furlongs was run in 1:10 after a :45 half mile. On average, he has been last or within three positions of last after a half-mile in his last six races. In spite of the perception the Belmont is won by closers because of its long distance which allows horse to wind up and gain momentum as the race increases, this is not the case. The race has been won primarily by horses which run the same tempo from start to finish, and so I am taking a stand against Rich Strike as a contender in this year’s race.

Similarly, Mo Donegal is hard to endorse in spite of 103 and 101 figure efforts this year when winning the Wood Memorial and finishing third in the Derby.

Handicapper Picks

Win Bets: We the People at odds of 8 to 5 or higher. 

Smaller win bets can be considered on Creative Minister and on Nest at odds of 7 to 2 or more.

This is another race where the mathematical edge provided by a dutching tool, like the one which is free and easy to use at Amwager, will come in very handy.  


We The People over Nest and Creative Minister

Box We the People, Nest and Creative Minister


We The People over Nest and Creative Minister over Nest, Creative Minister, Rich Strike, Mo Donegal, Golden Glider and Barber Road

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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